Over in our news section, we started doing something called [DLC Depot] where we try to highlight some of the more stand-out releases that are shoved into our inbox, but I wanted to take the time to actually properly dissect a couple of the bigger releases in the past few days (okay, weeks. Okay, months — yes, I’ve been extremely lazy about this stuff).
Though the games being called out are pretty fundamentally different, there is a link between the two that goes beyond the fact that I was lazy and procrastinated for way too long in getting these up. Both are actually rather intensely social experiences, and ones that need to be played with other people. In the case of our first game, it’s pretty much forced, but with the second, it’s a little less obvious. Even still, both games really opened up when I learned to stop worrying and started to love their bomb-ass nature. Ew, that was a nasty segue. Oh well, on with the fun!
[Resident Evil 5 | Versus DLC]
I’ve already voiced my displeasure at how Capcom navigated the possible routes for the Resident Evil franchise, but what’s done is done, and rather than harping any more on the choices, it’s probably better just to live with ‘em. In truth, to properly enjoy the modes that the Versus add-on pack has to offer, you need to not just tolerate the particular eccentricities of Resident Evil 5’s controls but properly embrace ‘em. Like, big ass bear hug-style. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t… resistant to jumping back into playing RE5, but in a very real sense, this is lemonade being made out of lemons.
Mercenaries Mode, the additional bit of arcade-flavored, time-crunched fun that’s unlocked when you finish the story mode of Resident Evil 5 is deceptively similar to the main game, and by extension, so is the Versus Mode offerings — Slayer and Survival in both “single-player” and co-op flavors. I use the quotes only because the two modes aren’t entirely driven apart by vast similarities; if you want to mess with the other guy, he’ll happily soak up your shots and then give you a few precious seconds of free not-zombie killing action.
The game’s at its best, though, when you do either force yourself to work alongside or against someone with a clear goal. The fun that comes from knowing you’re supposed to gun down the other guys or stand back-to-back with ‘em, taking on the red-eyed hordes lets you concentrate on that basic idea. That Survival actually penalizes you for shooting those zombies, however, turns the weird lock-n-turn combat into a game of selective targeting; don’t shoot the normal enemies and instead try to get a bead on the guys that are scrambling all over the place. Thing is, the normal Mercenaries maps that are re-used here (as are the characters and the weapons loadouts) suddenly feel new when you’re constantly trying to juggle weapon range, damage and getting the drop on someone. That guy or gal trying to run around to get the drop on you almost makes it all feel like a sniper duel, which isn’t something I expected.
Conversely, the kind of communication and teamwork (even within the confines of Versus’ complete lack of customization or even rematch options) needed to rack up the kills to unlock new (okay, old) maps in Slayers makes it feel new too. Headshots and chaining kills while using the environment while not stealing kills or wasting spare explosions changes things again. For five bucks, this is actually not a bad way to make something old (or at least familiar) feel new. One could argue that it could (or even should) have been included on the disc as a playable option after beating the game like Mercenaries, but there’s no denying that what’s here is added value, and the price is right.
[Buzz! Quiz TV | Rock Legends Quiz Pack]
There’s not a whole lot to say here about the latest Buzz! add-on that wasn’t already covered by my last dive into the 500 post-release questions Sony’s cooked up. The difference between this one and the American Culture Quiz Pack is that it’s [i]clearly[/i] designed around those that have a semi-encyclopedic knowledge of rock music; Glam, Hair Metal, Blues, Classic Rock… hell, there’s even a few Jazz questions in there, though I’m not complaining. Needing a breadth of quick-recall info on the various types of music is hardly a bad thing, exactly, as it actually helps multiple age groups and interests get into things. It [i]does[/i] mean, however, that this is something best served up to those that have Rolling Stone subscriptions because nothing will turn someone from a cautious player idly tapping at the Buzz! buzzer into a whooping “TASTE MY HENDRIX SCIENCE!”-screaming know-it-all like nailing a couple of questions.
I still would have liked to see these Quiz Packs uh… pack in more stuff; more video, more audio clips and, [i]please[/i], guys, more stuff from Buzz himself and the announcer. It’s a bummer that the same quips are used constantly — especially because there were so few of them on-disc to begin with. I realize the game probably isn’t tapping much of the Blu-ray’s capacity, but I wouldn’t mind a bigger download size if it meant some cool old footage of The Who or rare live recordings of bands as part of some of the questions. As it stands now, this is all basically piggybacking off the content that’s already on the disc, and it doesn’t quite feel like it’s completely worth the asking price. Even still, all my bitching still can’t deter me from recommending this to those of you looking to stretch [i]Buzz![/i] just a bit further.
And there you have it. Two passing glances at games that I actually found rather entertaining despite them being mere morsels compared to their parent games. Both worth picking up, and though for entirely different reasons, both serve as great ways to extend a game past its on-disc life, which is the idea behind DLC anyway, right? Right.